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BC/DR, Disaster Recovery, business continuity

How to stay connected in the event of a disaster

By : Peter Davies / 18 September, 2018 /

All of us are aware of the havoc that ensues from a disaster, however for those that have experienced a disaster first hand (be it natural or human induced), they will have a much deeper understanding of the implications that follow.

The importance of connectivity for businesses

The negative impact on loss of connectivity, is now greater than ever before. When once, downtime would have simply been a blip in operations, for many businesses, it is now integral in everything we do.

Not only has our reliance on connectivity increased, so have the expectations from customers and clients. Businesses are under pressure to be contactable to everyone, everywhere, at any time, on any device and the quality of these connections must be both high and seamless. The demand for more robust connectivity is also rapidly increasing as is the requirement to send large files instantly and have all singing all dancing websites, that can easily handle large user numbers and activity. Equally there is a demand from staff and management to have tools and systems in place that allow them to do more in less time and at a higher quality.

There is also the reliance on 3rd party vendors that provide software, applications and tools for managing internal systems such as payments, accounts, stock, delivery and reviews etc. Businesses that do not invest in connectivity are at risk from losing customers, as they will simply go elsewhere.

Not to mention the added pressures of security, privacy and sharing.

Benefits of connectivity

  • Build & maintain relationships
  • Build an effective team
  • Manage employees
  • Contribute to company growth with innovation
  • Ensures transparency
  • Effective brand messaging
  • Prevent conflict and miscommunication
  • Manage orders, stock and deliveries
  • Manage existing customer data base and new leads

How to Stay connected

Disasters that are life threatening

Depending on the type of disaster, the first thing we prioritise is safety of ourselves and others. The second most important consideration is communication. Letting others know what the situation is, who needs help and who is safe, allows them to identify the best course of action. If someone is injured, or there is a fire, they know exactly which personnel to send, where to and whether the issue is time sensitive.
In these scenarios, the best method of communication is likely to be a land mobile radio system as these are better suited for critical situations. They have an increased range, are very resilient and purpose built to be usable in many different scenarios and last for long periods of time.

Disasters that are not life threatening

In less severe scenarios where there is no threat to life or injury, communication becomes the number 1 priority. Contacting staff, customers and 3rd party vendors is essential for restoring business operations, as internal staff will need to co-ordinate to see that hardware is replaced, data is restored, employees know where they need to be and most importantly, so that customers are aware of what is happening. Communicating with others during crisis is especially important when elements of the plan need to change, as this could affect the course of actions for others.

In these scenarios, the most efficient way to ensure swift restoration is to invest in cloud hosted unified communication solutions.

Voice Solutions

NGNS (non-geographic numbers)

Traditionally, business phone numbers are associated with your office location, the problem with this, is that in scenarios that require you to change office location, your number also needs to change making this frustrating for those that need to contact you. NGN’s are numbers that are not restricted to a location, no matter where you are in the UK, eliminating the need to learn a new number and change marketing material.

These help with Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery as it removes the process of changing telephone numbers, meaning this time can be dedicated to other high priority tasks and achieve better RPO’s and RTO’s

Inbound routing

This is the vehicle that allows you to control and manage your incoming calls, allowing you to balance workloads and ensure that calls go directly to the right people and departments. This minimises the length of call time and frustration for customers, as their queries can be dealt with more efficiently, which increases the number of calls that can be taken and once again, gives you more time that can be used on other tasks. Inbound routing remains operational during downtime and can be remotely accessed using an online portal and app.

SIP Trunking (Session Initiated Protocol)

Traditionally, businesses have been reliant on ISDN’s, however as requirements become more complex, the demand for speed and quality is increasing. SIP is a telephony line that also incorporates the internet as well, allowing data and voice to be merged into a single channel. This is ideal for video and audio calls and conference calls, instant messaging, VoIP calls and traditional calls. Furthermore, it is quite likely that by making the switch, your business could make significant cost savings.

SIP trunking helps BC/DR by moving you away from reliance on a single instance, giving you more options should things go wrong. As you have full control over bandwidth and call routing, in the event of a disaster, you can redirect calls to mobile devices or a secondary office instantly, minimising disruption and containing potential reputational damage and customer dissatisfaction.

If this hasn’t managed to persuade you, perhaps you would be interested to learn that BT have announced that by 2025, they plan to migrate all customers to an IP network and switch off the ISDN network.

Hosted PBX

With more and more businesses using offsite servers and cloud solutions to store important files, folders and backups, cloud technology has also been utilised to develop hosted PBX. Hosted PBX goes by many names (such as cloud PBX, hosted telephony, virtual PBX and VoIP) all of which provide businesses with a way to use the cloud for managing telephony, making services more versatile, resilient, feature rich and cost effective.

Connectivity

Broadband

Broadband is a form of high speed internet connection, which is prevalent in homes and offices all over the world. The most common form of broadband is ADSL, where connecting is delivered along phone lines, also widely used though fibre-optic alternatives which boast significantly faster upload and download speeds. Then there’s 3G, 4G, and soon 5G mobile providing fast and reliable wireless upload and download speeds.

Having a strong and reliable internet connection is essential for businesses that use the cloud to store data and manage telephony. Broadband connections are essential for restoring backups and managing SIP trunking during down time.

Wireless leased lines

A leased line is a dedicated, physical, fixed bandwidth connection that links offices within a business or an office to a data centre. Leased lines are symmetric which means they can upload data at the same speed they download it; making the transfer of files, backing up or hosting websites on your own server easy to do. Unfortunately, fixed leased lines are often associated with high costs.

Wireless leased lines of the other hand deliver all the benefits of a traditional leased line, without the price tag or inconvenience. It is also far more scalable and easier to maintain.

Networking

A network is a collection of connected computers and devices that share resources, such as software, data, and information. Resource sharing saves time and money. As well as telephony and internet services, there are also great networking options that help with BC/DR.

How we help: My Solar

A key value we hold at Solar Communications is “Lead the Way”. We try and incorporate this in everything we do for our customers, whether this be bringing cutting edge technologies into our portfolio to support your business, offering on site demos and training, or having nationally accredited support. We think it is of vital importance that we empower our customers to understand their technology and how it works for them so that they can become experts themselves, and truly drive value into their business.

MySolar is our free customer portal which gives you the opportunity to do just that. In the portal, you will be able to self-service your account, giving you the opportunity to purchase products such as handsets or licenses, view and change information around users and billing, and view details about your account. You are also able to log, monitor and manage any support tickets so you know the exact status of your enquiry and its resolution.

If you are interested in learning more about connectivity, check out our ultimate guide to BC/DR planning or get in touch with an expert who will help you identify the solutions that are best for your business

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Tags: BC/DR, Disaster Recovery, business continuity

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